Larry Torres at his home in El Salto.

Ese verano había caído mucha lluvia and because of all that rain, todos los streams, rivers and ponds estaban bien llenos. The only place donde no había caído suficiente lluvia era en la veguita de la Grama Cuca. Her little lawn still needed some more rain.

Grama had called a la vecina, Dolores, to come and irrigate el zacate and she would pay her a dime. La Dolores came over y grama le presto una ollita de diez and with that metal pail, la Dolores would go fetch water de la acequia que estaba adelante la casa and pour it over the grass. Ella hacía muchos trips pa’la acequia and Canutito was watching her ir y venir cada vez. Finally he got bored y se fue a ver el agua corriendo en la acequia.

El niño had never seen a tanta agua and he was fascinated porque el agua estaba debordando las bandas, overflowing its banks. As he was looking at it, Canutito alcanzó a ver una dandelion al otro lado de la acequia Among the other flowers. Era la chicoria yellow más hermosa that he had ever seen. He thought that if he picked it, he might take it over to Grama Cuca to put adelante de la little statue de la Blessed Mother que tenía arriba del ropero en el cuartito. Without thinking twice, Canutito gave a great leap, tratando de brincar para el otro lado de la acequia pero he landed – splat – en el mero medio del agua.

Canutito started to cry at the top of his voice y la vecina, Dolores, oyó sus gritaderas over at the lawn. Sin más ni más she grabbed la ollita de diez and she ran hasta la acequia donde el agua was already carrying Canutito down stream. Just as la vecina, Dolores saw Canutito desaparecerse under la puente, she ran across y lo pescó right in her water pail. She stepped into the acequia, and she scooped up al niño en sus brazos and then she carried him safely pa’l la casa donde la Grama Cuca was watching cuando lo oyó gritar.

Grama Cuca le quitó la ropa al niño as he cried: “¡Nomás poquito me mojé!” afraid que she would spank him porque he had gotten so close al agua. She wrapped him up en una toalla y lo sentó over by the kitchen stove. When he was un poco mayorcito, Grama Cuca told Canutito the story: “Tu grampo le dio a la vecina Dolores un peso porque te hizo rescue and you learned your lesson de que a veces you’re the windshield and some days you’re the bug.”

“What does that mean, grama?” Canutito asked her. “What do you mean when you say que ‘algunos días eres la parabrisa y a veces eres la polilla?”

“I think that in English se dice que ‘some days are diamonds y a veces some days are stone’ o que ‘I’d rather be a hammer than a nail’. No todos los días van a ser de puros rainbows and daisies, pero tenemos que tomar lo bueno con lo malo.” Si tú no hubieras aprendido tu lesson and stayed away de las acequias te podías haber ahogado and I didn’t want to see you drowned.

“Yo siempre le rezo a mi guardian ángel to keep me safe, grama,” Canutito said.

“Todo eso está bien, m’hijo,” grama said, “pero have you ever thought de que a veces los angels disguise themselves as human beings aquí en el mundo? La vecina Dolores might have been tu guardian angel in disguise que estaba presente to save you from drowning cuando eras un baby,” grama added. “Por eso es importante de tratar a todas las personas con mucho respeto porque you never know si serán real people o falta que sean angels in disguise. La vecina Dolores was irrigating for us en ese día. Maybe en vez de decir: ‘ruega’ por nosotros, you should pray: ‘rega’ por nosotros’. In other words, don’t say: ‘pray for us’ pero más bien ‘irrigate for us’. It’s all good.” Esa noche Canutito prayed to his angel, la vecina Dolores …

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